Leverstock Green blew a two-goal lead and lost their unbeaten league record as they crashed to a disappointing defeat at FC Broxbourne Borough on Tuesday night.
Leverstock made a blistering start to the game and found themselves in front after only 10 seconds as Callum Wright found the net.
And the advantage was doubled in the 18th minute as Leverstock added a second goal when Chris Blunden was played through and ran on to slot the ball home.
However, Broxbourne hit back on the stroke of half-time through Luke Strahan, and they went on to win the game with late goals from Adam Murad and Kendall Allen.
The game could hardly have started any better for the Green. From the kick-off the ball was played back to Tommy Walsh, who lofted a pass over the top to find Wright on the edge of the box. Wright chested the ball down and lobbed keeper Adam Seymour to put Leverstock in front with just ten seconds on the clock.
The shellshocked hosts could have seen the game go out of sight as Leverstock continued their rampant start. In the sixth minute a shot from Louis Bircham went across goal and just wide.
Four minutes later Wright hit a shot from the edge of the box that was tipped onto the post by Seymour. Finally in the 18th minute Leverstock added a second goal as Blunden was played through and ran on to slot the ball home.
It should have been three just a minute later as Wright was played in behind the defence. He looked certain to score as he knocked the ball past Seymour, but it was too hard a touch and Wright couldn’t catch up with the ball to slot into the empty net before it ran out of play.
Leverstock were denied again soon after as Seymour kept out a shot from Blunden with his legs. There was yet another chance on 35 minutes as Broxbourne gave the ball away from a free-kick and Leverstock broke quickly, but Blunden shot just wide.
Towards the end of the half, though, the hosts were coming more into the game, often helped by Leverstock giving the ball away far too much.
Liam McDonagh had already had to save a shot from Charncey Dash with his legs on 21 minutes, and had to produce another save from John Megicks on 37 minutes. Two minutes later Murad shot across the face of goal from a good position.
With just seconds remaining in the half, Strahan was allowed the time and space to run from the halfway line before hitting a superb shot from distance over McDonagh for a goal that proved utterly crucial in getting Broxbourne back into the game and giving them a huge psychological boost for the second half.
Broxbourne took the game to Leverstock after the break and piled on the pressure from the outset. Bircham could have restored the Green’s two goal lead on a rare break on the hour, playing a neat one-two with Blunden on the edge of the box, but his shot deflected wide off Seymour’s leg.
Other than that, Leverstock had difficulty holding onto the ball, and started giving away a series of free kicks in dangerous positions as the pressure continued.
Ryan Wade wasted a free-kick on the edge of the box as he blasted it straight into the wall on 68 minutes, and five minutes later Wade was unlucky as a fierce shot hit the post and Murad couldn’t get to the rebound.
With 15 minutes left Leverstock were still just about holding on, but on 78 minutes another free-kick conceded inside their own half proved costly as Murad headed home the equaliser.
At 2-2 the game was in the balance, and Leverstock had a few moments around the opposition box that might have seen them go back in front, but the momentum was with Broxbourne, and it was little surprise when they eventually took the lead with two minutes left.
McDonagh had done well to palm away a header from the top corner of the net, but the rebound wasn’t cleared and a shot blasted in from a narrow angle found its way through a crowd of players into the net.
Even then in the last minute Bircham might have grabbed an equaliser as he played another one-two on the edge of the box, but this time his shot was across goal and wide.
In stoppage time Brad Harrison might have added a fourth for Broxbourne but shot wide when clean through.
A disappointing result from a game that could have been won inside 30 minutes, but Broxbourne certainly deserved the three points for the way they picked themselves up and turned the game around.
The Leverstock Green first team have no game this Saturday, and next Tuesday night they make their second visit of the season to Tring Athletic for a first round tie in the Premier Division Cup. The reserves have a home game against Tring in the Suburban League on Saturday.
FC Broxbourne Borough: 1. Adam Seymour, 2. Dan Billson, 3. Matt Roles (15. Brad Harrison 66 mins), 4. Reece Lyons, 5. Kendall Allen, 6. Sean Flaherty, 7. Luke Strahan (12. Tom Oram 80 mins), 8. Mark Brennan, 9. Charncey Dash, 10. John Megicks (14. Ryan Wade 66 mins), 11. Adam Murad. Subs not used: 16. Sean Givernauld, 17. Fred Dooling.
Leverstock Green: 1. Liam McDonagh, 2. Damien Cruickshank, 3. Joe Horwood, 4. Liam O’Keefe, 5. James Budden, 6. Lee Faulkner (15. Jack Halcomb 76 mins), 7. Tommy Walsh, 8. Curtis Donaldson, 9. Louis Bircham, 10. Chris Blunden (12. Luke Preedy 81 mins), 11. Callum Wright. Subs not used: 14. Gavin Smith, 16. Reece McArthur.